Guest Comment: India’s corporate espionage boom
June 28, 2012 1 Comment
By BRITTANY MINDER | intelNews.org |
A survey conducted earlier this month by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (AssoCham) found that corporate espionage in India is surging. The June 14 survey found that 35 percent of Indian firms regularly and aggressively conduct research on competitors and employees, which goes far beyond the normative business intelligence realm. Secretary General of AssoCham, D.S. Rawat, maintained that “demand from certain industries, such as information technology, infrastructure, insurance, [and] banking and manufacturing is overwhelming”. With an increasing demand for espionage gadgetry, up nearly 30 percent from last year, the survey also noted that “almost all the company representatives in these domains acknowledged the prevalence of industrial espionage to gain access to information and steal trade secrets of their competitors through private deals with sleuths and spy agencies”. The appetite for corporate espionage and gadgets doesn’t stop at rival-on-rival activity; espionage is a pursuit while industrial espionage is a practice. Overall corporate vulnerabilities, a lack of appreciation for corporate security best practices, and the tangible motivation of revenue is, according to AssoCham, driving, “companies who have strong unions and are vulnerable to pilferage hire spy agencies and plant an under-cover agent, a mole in minor job profiles in rival companies to ascertain if union leaders are getting paid for creating trouble”. According to The New York Times, conservative acknowledgements of the boon of the corporate spy industry willingly concede that some companies even hire “mystery vendors” to gauge their own employees’ response to sifting from outsiders. About 1,200 respondents to the survey admit to using moles and social media surveillance from external investigative services to monitor and aggregate their former and current employees’ activities and lifestyles. The summative take from the corporate espionage survey findings in India, while unsurprising in themselves, indicate an understated global reality. Industry leaders compete on a playing field that tethers their success to the craft of intelligence and technological ingenuity. The borders, boundaries, and substantive definitions of business intelligence versus industrial and corporate espionage, are increasingly blurred. This survey should remind every corporate entity that business in India starts not with a great offense but with a determined defense.